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December 07, 2005

Comments

stanton

I understand your anger, Hugo, but why would you then turn around and apply your own preferred brand of overly simplistic and bigoted judgment/blame? In considering issues over the years, one thing that I have learned is that large-scale social problems are the result of interplay of many different and complex forces, and attempts to place blame on a disfavored social group (and for you, in this case, as a feminist, this hapless group is mainstream "male society") are not valid. At best such attempts serve only to obfuscate the issues. Still, I must give you credit for acknowledging the problem. Most feminists who are even willing to enter a discussion of this issue dismiss it with a handwave, saying it only reflects male privilege! Astoundingly, they "reason" that males know they don't need an education to prosper in a male-dominated society, and so they don't value it as much as do females. No further analysis needed, if male-privilege can be invoked! It is my experience that most feminists have a powerful resistance to acknowledging the existence of a serious social problem that disadvantages the male population. You didn't play the male-privilege card, but the one you did play is only a small improvement.

The problem is actually reaching a critical point. Dr. Harry Dawe, director of admissions at Oberlin, was one of the first to suggest affirmative action admissions for male students, as the male enrollment dropped under 40% there. This, of course, will do nothing to address the underlying reasons for the disparity, well-intentioned as it may be. As with most (all?) affirmative action policies, it puts a bandaid over a festering wound and all but assures that the underlying infection will only get worse.

You believe the underlying infection to be older men and their lack of interest in boys and young men. Do you have any reason for this belief other than your feminism? You cite the dearth of male teachers who declare themselves to be eager "to mentor young men"; were there a lot of such teachers twenty-five years ago, when there were more males than females in college? I don't recall seeing anything like that, but perhaps you have sources that show this. I will grant you that there is strong evidence that mother-only environments hurt boys more than girls, but blame for the prevalence of this particularly poor arrangement does not fall squarely on the shoulders of men. I would guess that mother-only families are indeed part of the reason for the problem, so to that extent I agree with you.

Hugo, I know that you are aware of the profound effect of Mary Pipher, the AAUW, and others on the approach to primary and secondary education. The truism has been that everything about schools, including the teachers, function to advantage the boys and marginalize the girls. Large-scale efforts, backed by laws (such as the $360 million Gender Equity in Education Act), initiatives, resolutions, programs, and massive amounts of taxpayer money, were devoted to improving the self-esteem of our girls, giving them extra assistance in math, making sure that boys didn't dominate discussions (even by silencing them)... And yes, by featuring primarily female role models - or minority male role models. These things will have their effect over time. Yet the myth persists that schools shortchange girls. The results prove otherwise, but the myth will continue to drive public policy as long as the true believers can sustain it. And the boys will continue to suffer until then. If the believers can make the problem appear to go away by covering it with an affirmative-action bandaid, however, then it may never be fixed. I will fight that all the way.

Hugo

Stanton, the number of male teachers has declined significantly. See here:
http://www.ksdk.com/news/news_article.aspx?storyid=87478

Mr. Bad

Hugo, that link you cited provides no indication that the "all-time low" of male teachers is statistically significant compared to 5, 10, 15, 20, etc., years ago, thus, your claim that "the number of male teachers has declined significantly" is not supported by the article you cited. The article does not discuss "decline," it only discusses current numbers. We don't know whether or not the "all time low" is, e.g., 2,500 currently vs. 2,505 in 2000, vs. 2,510 in 1995, etc.

You're going to have to do better than that.

stanton, the AAUW has been pretty much completely discredited by their own hand, vis-a-vis the "Shortchanging Girls" propaganda, so I thinkt that most credible academic and policy makers don't really take them seriously, despite feminist rhetoric to the contrary. Truly, the AAUW is a shameless, sexist political pressure group and not a legitimate 'academic' organization.

Hugo

Here's another one:

"Research has shown that since the 1970s, the number of male elementary teachers has been significantly dwindling. According to the National Education Association, only 9 percent of elementary teachers are males. "

Source: http://tiger.coe.missouri.edu/news/news.php?nid=283

But hey, I'm not a Ed.D. (heavens forfend). Others may be able to find the actual studies.

Mr. Bad

Sorry Hugo, strike two. That article still offers no rate, which is the measure for decline (i.e., change in number over time). Thus, we can't tell whether the "decline" (i.e., reduction in numbers over time) is significant.

Pip

"The National Education Association reports that since 1980-81 (when 18 percent of elementary teachers were men), male teachers across the public education board not just in elementary schools have steadily been disappearing. As of last spring, the percentage of male elementary teachers is at a 40-year low of 9 percent in the United States. Overall, male public education teachers make up 35 percent of the teacher population."

That's from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10027755/from/RL.2/

Hi brother, just passing by!

Hugo

Thanks, Pip! Huzzah!

Mr. Bad

Hey Pip - thanks. A drop of 50% in men in the elementary school teaching ranks over the last 25 years is significant, and is a trend that has been going on for a long time. So I wonder, why over the past 25 years haven't the self-proclaimed 'gender equity' wonks discussed this lack of diversity in K-12 education, and why only now when feminism is waning and the MRM is waxing is this being brought to light?

mythago

Isn't Gurian the one who wrote that we need to be cautious about pushing girls to excel because we might harm their ability to be wives and mothers later?

As the mother of a boy who is having trouble adjusting to school, I get so fed up with these idiots who would like to use my child's problems as a beat stick for their personal bugaboos about feminism. Believe me, if you have a girl who breaks the Sit Down Shut Up model of elementary education, they aren't any happier or more 'feminist' about it.

stanton

But even if the numbers ARE significantly lower than in past years, that does not in any way demonstrate a causal relationship between the decline in male teachers and the poorer performance of male students. A well-crafted study might compare the results of large samples of students who had differing ratios of male teachers to female teachers throughout their primary/secondary education. The hypothesis would be that there is a significant difference in positive outcomes for students who have more instruction from teachers of their own gender. I find that to be a dubious hypothesis, but if it proves to be true, then I would support large-scale campaigns to encourage more men to enter the field of primary and early secondary education - at least matching the amount spent heretofore on raising the self-esteem of adolescent girls and improving their math scores.

Snowe

I think that the real problem is the quality of teachers, which is due to the low pay. Most of the people who are education majors are, frankly, not people I would think qualified to teach my children. There are a few intelligent and motivated people who teach because they love it, of course, but a lot of the ed majors are getting their MRS degree, or tried something else and thought it was too hard. When you add that to the overcrowding, it's not surprising that boys, who tend to need more supervision sometimes, are getting shortchanged.

Lauren
So I wonder, why over the past 25 years haven't the self-proclaimed 'gender equity' wonks discussed this lack of diversity in K-12 education

Well, feminist academics HAVE been discussing it. Because they don't wear their politics on their sleeves, you probably didn't notice.

First things first, get rid of the ridiculous notion that a man who wants to teach elementary children has ulterior motives. That's one stereotype that rankles me to no end.

Karl

Why am i not shocked to see a gender (read women good/men bad) tutor blaming men...not just for womens problems, but mens problems too! I'm almost shocked!

In short, Hugo sees it as his job to please the feminists of this world by bashing men again, and again, and again, and once more for good luck!

Hugo - you're a real bore.
Stop blaming men for everything and take some responsibility for the political hate group you're so supportive of!

Lauren

Snowe, watch your stereotypes.

Brian

I read Kate's piece before seeing this post by Hugo. While I thought it was simplistic of her to be drawing such a conclusion, I also think it's delusional to believe that feminism over the last 30 years or so has not had a hand in what we're experiencing now with boys. It's like denying that there's any global warming; we can argue about the topic ad infinitum, because it's monstrously complex, but can any sane person say there's been zero impact as the result of our industrial behavior the past 30 years? Feminism certainly has had an impact, it's the weight of the impact is the only thing that's debatable.

Factory

So what about this? Guy goes to University (squeaks through the distasteful environment in the process), and wants to teach, so goes for a BA or something. While getting his education, he sees more and more of what is really going on. Then notices all the male teachers in the news for statutory rape - and right alongside a news story about the female teacher who "had an affair with her students". Then starts to notice the subtly mistrustful looks of the people in the Education dept. Then reads the laws , guidelines, restrictions and precautions that male teachers especially have to pay attention to constantly - weighs the constant fear of somehow breaking a barrier or *gasp* hugging a child who is hurt! Innapropriate touching in his record....career toast immediately. And suddenly a different career path is chosen. The male teaching population drops. Some existing teachers quit out of fear, or harrassment.
Now there are fewer male teachers, and all of them have just been told for 4 solid years that women are disadvantaged and need help. So, boys are passed over, ignored, diagnosed with ADD, and graded lower. So this second generation of boys grows up severely hobbled from this, and refuses to go to college, which further reduces the male teaching population.

This could hardly be a revelation.

Breadfish

Part of the problem is the entire primary and secondary education system in this country. It isn't good for boys and it isn't really good for the girls either even if some people argue that it's geared toward a female brain (if you ask me, it isn't geared toward any child's brain; girls simply *withstand* it better).

Also, by high school, the girls might *put up with it* longer, because they know they'll be working in low-paying childcare, custodial or food service jobs if they don't, but they aren't necessarily getting a better quality education than their male peers. By the time the option of college pops up, the damage is long done anyway and I don't think any sort of affirmative action is going to fix it. I found so many of my freshman classes extremely frustrating. Not because of the material or the instructors rather, but my classmates. Most of them couldn't even tell you the decade the Civil war was fought in and in classes that required input an discussion from the class, invariably there would be maybe three or four students who spoke on a regular basis and the rest would sit there with blank looks on their faces. Quite a few of those blank faces (male and female) have dropped out or flunked out by now, or transferred to community colleges or technical schools because their state education simply didn't prepare them adequately.

I personally think one of the reasons more girls finish high school than guys is this vast difference in motivation - the girls stick with it out of a very simple fear that they'll end up in a dead-end job and dirt poor if they don't. Guys are more willing to take high-risk but better-paying jobs (logging, construction, military, etc) than girls. As such, they don't have to deal with quite as deep a fear of ending up with a bunch of kids to feed and no way to do it. Some guys choose to stay because they want more than a decent-paying but dangerous and often unfulfilling job, but the choice isn't so dire and an apathetic, unmotivated teen is often more likely to take the path of least resistance.

Hugo

Well, Factory, you've got it partly right. You're right that we are hyper-vigilant about adult men who want to work with young folks, and that that hysteria has chased many good men away. But the fact is, we've got to push through that barrier. Yes, I'm watched like a hawk in my capacity as a youth leader working with teenagers. I SHOULD be watched closely; I understand that it is an inevitable and unpleasant aspect of living in the modern age. But for the sake of the boys and girls who need to be nurtured and mentored and loved on by men as well as women, we've got to be braver than to throw up our hands and walk away.

Lennart

""While young women are increasingly able to take advantage of strong support networks, young men are left isolated. The problem is not feminism, the problem is a striking lack of interest on the part of older men in mentoring younger ones.""

Well - the real problem is one of exclusive versus inclusive empathy. Women's Networks only help women whereas Traditional Networks help everybody. So of course the gynocentrism of feminsim has something to do with the problem.

Wake up to reality Hugo!

Lennart

And further: What is up with this autoimmunity of feminism? I have read a lot of debates, but I have never - not once - seen a feminist admit that a movement causing such fundamental changes will also bring about side-effects.

This Utopianism might be the best indicator of feminism turning more totalitarian with time.

Hugo

"Traditional Networks help everybody."

Oh yeah. Tell that to the men in my family who were and are members of the traditionally all-male Bohemian Grove, the PU club, and other bastions of the living, thriving, very real old-boys network in the Bay Area. Tell that to the women in my family who have never had the chance to make the same contacts and connections as their fathers, uncles, and brothers. Tell that to men and women of color or of less privileged backgrounds who have no hope in hell of getting in.

I know traditional networks like the back of my hand, Lennart -- and I don't know what kind y'all have in Denmark, but I know what we've got here.

Sorry, a bit off topic, but that line was such a whopper...

Lennart

OK Hugo

By traditional networks I did not mean the old-boys clubs. Maybe I should not have used the word 'traditional.'

My point, rather, is this:
Whereas feminists will make networks that exclude men and boys - many men will not make networks exclusively for men and boys - for idealistic reasons.

One example - In Denmark we have some state-sponsored mentor networks run by feminists which support emigrants integration. Cool!

But, alas, the feminists only want to support females.

And indeed it is illegal to make networks that exclude women.

So we have 'common networks' (better wording?) for everybody and special networks for women.

So women have twice the possibilities.

I am not against exclusive networks ( this would be in conflict with the freedom of association ) - just against the state taking sides. I am all for formal equality, but it seems the passion for equality of outcomes is eating away at formal equality.

bmmg39

I share the fear that, in our zeal to help the self-esteem and academic achievement of girls, the self-esteem and academic achievement of boys is taking a big hit and is being neglected. I won't blame this on feminism, though.

"I SHOULD be watched closely; I understand that it is an inevitable and unpleasant aspect of living in the modern age."

That's fine, Hugo, but if you're watched closely then every other person in your position, regardless of gender, should be watched equally closely, or otherwise you're being discriminated against.

There was an outcry in CA a year or so back when a male working with a "Big Brothers, Big Sisters"-type group was told that he would not be allowed to be left alone with female students. All well and good, but female volunteers COULD be left alone with boys. With more and more cases of female perpetrators of statutory rape, do I even have to explain why this is wrong?

The company I tutor for has a much fairer policy: across the board, no tutor can work with a student inside the student's home unless there is a parent or guardian present, regardless of the genders involved. It protects everyone and I'd never want it to change.

boy genteel
www.safe4all.org

Breadfish

The company I tutor for has a much fairer policy: across the board, no tutor can work with a student inside the student's home unless there is a parent or guardian present, regardless of the genders involved. It protects everyone and I'd never want it to change.

That's probably a really good idea anyway. Although not as common, same-sex abuse does occur as well, even among females. Probably a safer bet to keep tabs on everyone equally in all situations involving children.

badteeth

After reading the article, and then the article in salon and your comments, let me see if I'm getting this all straight...

You seem to be saying, don't blame feminists for the crisis, blame men for the crisis, but the statistics say that there is no crisis.

I need an aspirin.

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